Ever since I started working for myself I’ve made an effort to attend a number of conferences, at least twice a year I go to the UK and there are many in Ireland that I try to get to as well. But why? The perception can be that conferences are either an excuse for a holiday or terribly boring, for me neither of these are true. Whatever industry you are in I believe that going to events like these can enhance your business in many ways. But why and how?
Why do I go to conferences?
To improve my knowledge
It’s the obvious answer. I want to be the best at what I do so I need to keep learning, keep on top of new developments and learn from the experience of others. Social media is such a fast moving field that it takes a lot of reading and discussion to keep up to date with developments.
To meet people
It’s true I do know a number of social media enthusiasts, I talk to them regularly but there’s nothing as comforting as getting in a room full of social media geeks. We can be an odd bunch and it might be hard for others to understand how we get so excited about the latest monitoring dashboard or marketing ploy. I imagine whatever industry you are in this applies. It can be a bit daunting walking into a big room full of strangers to start with but with Twitter to break the ice conversations usually occur. The recent Bloggers International event arose from a collaboration with someone I met at a conference.
To take time out
I’ve recently become passionate about work life balance. This might seem an odd revelation for someone who has been running her own businesses for around 7 years but it’s something too many of us overlook. Taking time out from your regular schedule can spark new ideas and help you see your business from a different perspective. A day at a conference learning from others can really get your creative juices flowing. It can restore your motivation and passion for your business.
On September 19th I’m attending the Social Media Marketing and Monitoring (#SMM11) conference in London. This is the third year I will have attended and I’m looking forward to brushing up on my skills and being challenged by some ideas from the speakers. Every year I come back buzzing with ideas about how I can implement what I’ve learnt. For me the best speakers in the past have been those giving strong case studies. It’s always good to hear directly from people what has and hasn’t worked for them and discover what insights they have discovered on the way. The event run by ‘Our Social Times’ takes place on 19th September in Central London you can book tickets here. If you want to follow what I’m getting up to on the day look out for tweets with the #SMM11 tag.
Some Irish Conferences Not To Be Missed
Dublin Web Summit – This looks like an unmissable event with speakers from YouTube and Linkedin on the agenda. I’ve heard great things about previous DWS so I’m hoping I’ll finally make it to this one.
BizCamp Galway – I love the BizCamp format. It’s a shared learning arena where businesses share knowledge. Anyone can register as a speaker and I’ve been lucky enough to speak at two Dublin BizCamp’s but I actually enjoyed it more as a participant at the first one I attended. There’s a great friendly atmosphere and the slightly informal air makes it a really comfortable place to be.
Foodcamp – Kilkenny seems to be becoming the food capital of Ireland. Foodcamp takes place in October and is based on a similar format to BizCamp. I get hungry just looking at the pictures!
National Women’s Enterprise Day – This conference has been running for years and is one of the most enjoyable one’s that I have attended. I believe men are welcome too so don’t be put off by the name. At just €100 to attend it’s a bit of a bargain.
Bob Proctor – (disclaimer Vision Seminars who are running this event are clients of mine). If you are a believer in ‘The Secret’ ‘The Law Of Attraction’ or even just positive thinking this should be a great event. Positive thinking is all very well but how do we convert this into action? Find out at this day seminar.
Are you attending any conferences this year? If so which ones? Am I missing any great events from my list? Let me know what’s going on in the comment box below.